Previous versions of Windows supported a vast collection of devices with generic drivers built-in, and Windows 10 is no different. Detecting the hardware installed in the system is one of the most important features of the out of the box experience. The driver software or “firmware” allows the hardware on your system to communicate with the operating system. This article will demonstrate how to install and update drivers in Windows 10.
The following details are of a random PC on which Windows 10 is installed and will demonstrate step by step how to install/update the drivers. The PC used is a fairly new medium segment model with basic configuration that an average home user has. Apart from that, we have ready internet connection (Wireless) for the device to connect to. If you’re living in a country or area with unreliable internet connection, make sure you have a good internet connection to download and update the drivers.
Let’s get started:
Installing drivers using Windows Updates
For a long time now, Microsoft has been releasing Windows Updates for most common fixes and patches. Windows Update is the starting point for resolving most common driver issues that you might experience after the upgrade to Windows 10.
Apart from Important Updates – which are Microsoft Windows updates and components, you also receive optional updates which include the most recent drivers for a few components of hardware installed in your PC and software updates for the applications installed.
To launch Windows Update, follow the steps below:
- Go to the Start Menu and click on Settings.
- Click on Update and Recovery.
- Click on Check for Updates
As an alternate or shortcut, you may use the run box and directly go to the Windows Update Screen.
- Press Windows Key + R on the keyboard.
- Type wuapp and hit enter.
Check for the updates to know if there are any pending updates or any optional driver updates available.
Once you click on ‘Check for Updates’, Windows will immediately detect your system configuration and the driver versions already installed on the system. Thereafter it will show you the list of updates that are not installed and are available to install on your system. Once you give the command to install the updates after checking the list, you will see a window similar to what you see above. A few of the drivers install normally like the ones you see above, but certain updates would require you to restart the computer. Once restarted, you will see the progress of Windows configuring updates and it will eventually get you back to your login screen. If the update has trouble completing properly, check out our update stuck article but if it’s all okay and you want to know what can the latest update do for you, then this article is the one you should read.
Finally, if your Windows update refuses to work and mentions that you are using a metered connection, then click here to learn all about it and how to turn it on/off.
Installing drivers through Device Manager
Another way to install the drivers is through the Device Manager. If you upgrade to Windows 10 and for some reason you are unable to use a particular feature on the computer, it is possible that Windows was unable to detect the driver for the same and you might have to install the driver in order for that feature to work.
For Example: If you upgrade to Windows 10 and Bluetooth stops working, drivers can be one of the major reason for that. If you are unable to find Bluetooth drivers through Windows Updates and you are unable to access Bluetooth settings and features, installing the drivers using Device Manager will be a good option.
It’s important to mention that if you’re suffering from the famous broken microphone issue in Windows 10, then it might be more than just a driver thing.
To manually install the drivers using Device Manager, follow the steps below:
- Press Windows key + X when you are at the desktop screen.
- Click on Device Manager
As an alternate for opening Device Manager, you may also use the Run prompt.
- Press Windows Key + R on the keyboard.
- Type msc and hit enter.
Once you see the Device Manager window,
- Select the device that you want to update/install the driver for
- Right click on it and click on Update Driver Software
Note: To identify the devices missing drivers, look for the yellow bang logo in front of the device.
This step will launch the wizard to update the driver software. You will see two options to choose from:
- Search automatically for updated driver software– It is possible that Windows might have the driver in the pool of generic drivers it comes loaded with. Usually it is automatically detected, with no need for you to click on anything. However, in certain cases you have to search for the driver. If this search comes with no result or is taking too long, then second option is best for you.
- Browse my computer for driver software– If you already have the driver exe file saved on your PC or on a disc (remember the driver must be compatible with your Windows version wither 32 or 64 bit, you can check what you have here), all you need to do is select the path where the file is stored and Windows will automatically install the driver for you. You may also choose to download the driver from the support website of computer manufacturer and use this method to update it.
The picture above shows how to point the device manager to driver files that are already on your computer. Browser to the location where the driver is saved on your PC (It can be in a different partition, an external USB drive, DVD or network location). If you are selecting the complete folder to search the drive from, make sure to keep the option “include subfolders” checked.
Once you have selected these options, click on next and wait while Windows installs the driver for you.
Fixing Compatibility of a Driver
One of the major concerns after upgrading to a newer version of Windows is finding the right updated drivers for all your devices. But there are certain machines or hardware for which the compatible driver is not yet available. In that scenario, you may choose to install the driver in compatibility mode with the previous version of Windows. Compatibility mode provides a simple way to make older drivers work under newer versions of Windows. It makes the driver believe that it is being installed on a supported version of Windows.
For Example: If you upgrade to Windows 10 and the latest drivers available for your system are for Windows 8.1, then you may choose to install the same driver in compatibility mode for Windows 8.1.
If both the option mentioned above to install/update driver fail, you may try “Troubleshoot Compatibility”.
For this method you need to either have the disc which has the driver in it or download the drivers from the computer manufacturer’s website. First, you need to point Windows where the setup files are saved. To do so,
- Open the location where the driver is saved (it can be a USB drive or DVD drive also).
- Right Click on the setup (.exe) file which is the installer file of the driver.
- Click on Troubleshoot Compatibility
This will launch the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter wizard which will check for issues.
Select the option “Troubleshoot program”
You will see different options seeking your input about the problem. Depending upon the problem you are experiencing with the driver while installing it, check off the options available.
Now you need to select the version of Windows the program is compatible with. If you have downloaded the driver for Windows Vista then select Windows Vista, if the driver available was for Windows 7 then select Windows 7. Once selected, click next.
Once you see the options that are shown in the picture above, click on Test the program…
Follow the on screen instructions to install the program as you normally would.
If the installation was successful and the drivers are updates/installed, click the option at the end of the wizard ‘Yes, save these settings for this program’
Wait while your settings for the program are saved.
We have observed certain cases in which drivers for certain devices like video cards automatically start installing upon the completion of Windows 10 installation, via Windows Update. You may try to disable automatic installation of drivers by following this support article on Microsoft’s website:
To uninstall the unwanted driver:
- Launch the Device Manager with a right click on the lower left corner of the desktop and a left click on Device Manager.
- Located the device driver with the problem driver installed, right click and choose Uninstall.
- In the uninstall dialog, check the box to Delete the driver software for this device if available.
To uninstall an unwanted Windows Update:
- Type “View Installed Updates” in the Search box and then click on View Installed Updates – Control Panel from the Search results.
- To uninstall the unwanted update, select it from the list and then click Uninstall.
Once you upgrade to Windows 10, visit the computer manufacturer’s support website and download the latest drivers available for your system.